I first heard of the issues surrounding mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at my church nearly a decade ago. Valuable minerals, also known as conflict minerals in this region, are controlled and manipulated by all sides in the DRC’s ongoing civil war. The innocent civilians of the country are the victims of incredible atrocities leading to what has been called one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time.
This report from the Responsible Sourcing Network’s (RSN), Mining the Disclosures 2017, is an analysis of supply chain due diligence of 206 companies regarding the use of conflict minerals.
The full report is on the RSN website or you can select the following link for an executive summary.
Most notably from the report is that a disturbing trend seems to be unfolding as the vast majority of companies analyzed are showing a decrease in efforts to provide strong due regarding conflict mineral connections. This may be due in part to the questioning of sections of the Dodd-Frank Act by the Trump administration which could lead companies to believe that requirements will diminish. The report shows that companies whose aim is only to be “compliant” with the minimum standards already tend to score very low.
Like most recent years the ’17 report showed that:
“The technology sector dominated the ranking with the majority of innovative leaders achieving scores above 70 points. Laggards are still to be found in a range of industry groups including those in Aerospace, Oil, and Building Materials. The low scores of these groups reflect a compliance-only focus instead of the proactive, due-diligence-based strategies implemented by the top five leading companies: Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Apple, Royal Philips. A new industry group is introduced in 2017, the Solar industry, which scored fairly well.”
Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) allows you to align your values with your investments. With an increase in information regarding corporate practices contained in reports like this one produced by RSN, investors are able to identify companies to buy and to avoid according to many different SRI related criteria. If you would like more information on SRI or a complimentary assessment of how well your current portfolio matches the causes and issues that are important to you, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Jack Schniepp is the owner of Cascade Financial Strategies. He authors the blog SRI Bend (www.SriBend.com) which addresses issues related to Socially Responsible Investing.